Smart Glasses Report Predicts 1 Billion Shipments By 2020

New York, NY – November 5, 2014: A new report by AugmentedReality.Org is predicting that the Smart Glasses market will soar towards 1 billion shipments near the end of the decade. The report, “Smart Glasses Market 2014”, defines the scope of the Smart Glasses (or Augmented Reality Glasses) market, predicts how fast it will ramp up, and which companies are positioned to gain from it. It forecasts the adoption phases between 2014-2023, the drivers and challenges for adoption, and how hardware and software companies, as well as investors should plan ahead to take part in the next big computing cycle.

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Progress and Mind Share Small

With over 10 new Smart Glasses launched in 2014 – this is a banner year for Smart Glasses. AugmentedReality.Org expects shipments to reach 1 million by fall 2015 – mostly for enterprises, followed by an increase to 10 million by 2016, 50-100 million shipments by 2018, and eventually capture the mainstream consumer space and cross 1 billion shipments at the turn of the decade. The report predicts that as the market matures and early winners emerge, by the end of 2016 the market will experience a “shakeup” with mergers, acquisitions, and significant investments. It argues that consumer electronics giants, and other players in the ecosystem have no more than a 12 months window to position their companies in the space (build, buy, partner) – or risk missing the opportunity.

Market Adoption Small

Enterprises Will Lead, Consumers Will Follow 

Driven by need of Fortune 500 companies to become more competitive, the largest investments in Smart Glasses and related software in the next few years will come mostly from the enterprise space. AR Glasses targeting niches (Bicycle helmets, competitive sports, entertainment) could also thrive. Once enterprise usage irons out the kinks of Smart Glasses and pushes their prices further down – the consumer market will take the lead – with the goal to ship a pair of Smart Glasses to every consumer.

Target Audience 

  • Hardware manufacturers and suppliers

  • Hardware startups

  • Software developers

  • Investors

  • The entire Augmented Reality ecosystem

Key Questions Answered in this Report

  • How will the market evolve?

  • Who are the key players? What are their strategies?

  • What is the competitive landscape?

  • What are the needs, challenges, and solutions?

  • What’s the value chain for AR Glasses?

  • What’s the forecast for market adoption in the next decade?

  • What are the drivers for adoption?

  • What’s the right price? The right timing?

  • Will this market happen at all? How big can it get?

Companies Mentioned in this Report

Google, Epson, Vuzix, Optinvent, Lumus, Meta, Sony, Samsung, Apple, Amazon, Kopin, ODG, Atheer, Glassup, Mirama, Penny, Laster, Recon, Innovega, Elbit, Brother, Oakley, Fujitsu, Microsoft, Canon, Lenovo, Baidu, Nokia, LG, Olympus, Foxcon, Konica Minolta, Daqri, Skully Helmets, Fusar, Magic Leap, Oculus.

AugmentedReality.Org is a global not-for-profit organization with a mission to advance Augmented Reality to advance humanity. It catalyzes the transformation of the AR industry by educating the market about the real power of AR, connecting the best talent around the world, and hatching AR Startups and helping bring them to market. This report is a service to the community funded by members and sponsors.

About the Author: Ori Inbar is the Co-Founder and CEO of Augmented Reality.ORG, and the founder and producer of Augmented World Expo – the world’s largest conference for AR. He dedicates his time is to explore and analyze every aspect of the industry, try every product, and speak with every expert. He lives and breathes Augmented Reality. In 2009, Ori was the co-founder and CEO of Ogmento, one of the first venture-backed companies focused on augmented reality games. Ori is recognized as a passionate speaker in the AR industry, a lecturer at NYU, as well as a sought after adviser and board member for augmented reality startups.

Watch Ori Inbar present key findings from the Smart Glasses Report at InsideAR 2014

For further details please contact info@AugmentedReality.Org or +1 (571) 293-2013

The 27 pages report is available for $799 on AugmentedReality.Org’s website.

AugmentedReality.Org members may purchase the report at a discount for just $99.

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Mirage HMD Augmented Reality System

The HMDs are here!

The HMDs are here!

Okay, maybe it’s not that exciting, especially when you realize that the Mirage from Arcane Technologies is not a stylish pair of glasses or even some retro steampunk goggles outfitted with AR HMD gear.  The unit looks so bulky and bland that not even Lady Gaga could make it trendy.

But it IS an AR HMD.

But really it’s made for industrial usage and not everyday street wear.  Though I suppose, a truly hardcore AR enthusiast could augment their home and wear them safety inside without worrying about losing a chance to ever have another date.  Again.  Ever.

The Mirage TM Augmented Reality System is a complete solution allowing you to create your own AR experience by inserting virtual content into the real environment. It includes a high-end stereoscopic OLED video see-through HMD and the MirageBuilder TM AR authoring software that work together to track different targets and display overlay near or onto them. The stereoscopic display allows the user to perceive depths for the most realistic experience and OLED technology offers the best color image quality available in head mounted displays today.

The Mirage TM HMD includes two cameras that are placed in front of the OLED ocular displays. The cameras send the images of the surroundings to the attached computer and the software uses image processing algorithms to detect marker patterns in the image. If one or more marker patterns are detected, those patterns are used to compute the 3D pose of the associated contents and then the overlay is drawn over the camera images for both eyes. The images are then sent back to the OLED ocular displays in front of both eyes. The result is a highly realistic and accurate stereoscopic realtime AR experience !

The system comes with authoring software so you can customize your markers.  I’d be curious if you could also use third party software like the Kinect to make it even groovier.  The Mirage + Kinect could become quite an indie hardcore hit.  However, since they don’t list the price on their website, I assume the cost is greater than even the most hardcore could afford.

Still, it IS another AR HMD on the market and to me we’re another step closer to stylish low-cost AR HMDs.  I’m still predicting 2015 as my arrival date for said glasses, but hopefully someone will surprise me and deliver a product sooner.

Becoming Cyborg – One Man’s Quest for a Good HMD

The great thing about technology these days is that anyone can get in on the action.  With a can-do DIY spirit, makers like Staffan Dryselius or Noah Zerkin (where have you been, Noah!), have been breaking new ground with their inventions.

Martin Magnusson, like Staffan, is trying to build a better HMD.  While he’s not as focused on the augmented reality portion as much as Staffan, he’s still trying to make a light-weight screen that provides continuous access to his information (like Manfred Macx from Accelerando by Charles Stross.)

To learn more about his project, I sat down with him for six questions:

Tom:  On your “Becoming Cyborb” blog, you go through great detail about the
technical details on your wearable computer project.  What is the end goal?
Or is this an ever evolving project?

Martin: It’s an ever evolving project towards the merger of man and machine. Hmm… that
sounds a bit pretentious. Look, I just want a decent text editor for note
taking. Paper doesn’t have copy/paste and undo (nor a legible font). The
iPhone’s screen and keyboard are puny. And my laptop has a weight problem. My
first goal is continuous access to Emacs and a keyboard.

Tom: Do you have ideas on how you might include augmented reality into
your project?

Martin: I would like to add a camera that tracks the fingers on your hands in front of
you. Perhaps paint colors or markers on the finger nails. A piece of software
would then translate finger movements into keystrokes. That way you’d always
have a keyboard without lugging a piece of plastic around.

Tom: What do you think of the other DIY projects out there, like Staffan’s?

Martin: I’ve talked to Staffan and find his work very interesting. I don’t know that
much about it yet, but he promised more information would appear on the Macxwear

Tom: Why do you think commercial glasses makers have failed so far to
produce a good product?

Martin: Have they? I would love to get my hands on Myvu’s (MicroOptical’s) discontinued
products, like the CV-3. To venture a guess, they found the market too

And perhaps companies don’t want to mass produce high-end head-mounted displays
until they’re completely stealth. However, just stroll down a street and look at
the outrageous sunglasses people gladly wear.

Tom: How do you plan to use your wearable computer on a daily basis?

Martin: I want to use it for displaying my todo list, writing notes, brainstorming,
etc. The basic idea is to augment my highly unreliable memory.

Tom: I see one of your favorite books is Accelerando by Charles Stross.
If you could, would you upload?

Martin: It’s on my todo list.

Martin is rigorously documenting his quest on his website Becoming Cyborg.  I’ve been impressed with his progress in a short amount of time.  Hopefully, he can keep up the pace.  I highly recommend going back and starting from the beginning on his blog.  He’s really done an excellent job in explaining step-by-step how he’s progressed and hopefully we’ll be hearing more from him in the future.

Laster’s Augmented Reality “Pro Mobile Display”

Ahh… augmented reality see-through HMD, how you tease me so…

Maybe I’m a cynical twice-burned jilted lover but I feel I’ve been here before. Thankfully, I fall in love again so easily.

Laster Technologies “Pro Mobile Display” has me intrigued enough for a lunch date at least and the company lists the PMD as a currently available product.  Though its approximately $10,000 price and bulky appearance is a bit prohibitive for the everyday user.  I contacted the company for specs on the PMD, but I won’t bother with them here since the price alone will keep all but the most dedicated away.  And really, if you’re going to spend ten grand on some AR glasses, you’ll be inquiring yourself.

The company rep also said they’ll be releasing a pair of fashionable AR see-through glasses called SmartVision later this year.  The product looks like the ones shown in this picture:

The initial release price will be similar to the PMD, though they say they are working on industrializing them to reach a price point of around $500 US.  This would put them in reach of the high-end consumer which would be enough to get the ball rolling in my book, though that would be years away.

I’ll believe it when I see it, but I am encouraged that they had a working model already available in the PMDs, just not that worthy of wearing on a regular basis.  The reality is that they could become vaporware just as easily as it could become a product, but at least it’s another horse in the race.  I’ll keep my eyes pealed and keep you posted if anything else pops up.

What I Want For Augmented Reality in 2010

I was going to expand on my predictions that Rouli had posted on Games Alfresco because, frankly, they were pretty lame (mine and not the other nine, those were good.)  But decided that there have been enough predictions for 2010.  So instead, I want to go over the things I want to happen in 2010 in regards to augmented reality.   

1. I want the Nexus One phone from Google to be untethered, cheap and make AR apps fun.

2. I want to be surprised by an AR ready HMD.

3. I want to see fun, creative AR games that are across all platforms and come at an affordable price. 

4. I want the AR inspection assist project I’m working on with Metaio to go flawlessly and for it to revolutionize the way we do difficult inspection job at Toyota and make it easier on our team members. 

5. I want Google Goggles to be a database that other programs can use for pattern recognition and markerless tracking.

6. I want to attend ISMAR10 even though its all the way over in South Korea.

7. I want the ISMAR09 presentations to be put up on YouTube so we can see all the great things that happened.

8. I want Apple to free their live video API for better AR on the iPhone.

9. I want to know what Neogence Enterprises has been working on all these years. 

10. I want to continue to make Games Alfresco the hands-down, defacto source for all your augmented reality news. 

So for all you programmers and entrepreneurs working on the latest in augmented reality tech, even though I may put up your YouTube video or link to your webpage and make semi-snarky comments about its usefulness or how its so-2009, I certainly appreciate your hard work.  Unless you were just mailing it in hoping to capitalize on the AR buzz, then you deserve it and then some.  For all of you in the former category, I leave you with my two favorite quotes to keep you going when things get tough:

All courses of action are risky, so prudence is no in avoiding danger (it’s impossible), but calculating risk and acting decisively.  Make mistakes of ambition and not mistakes of sloth.  Develop the strength to do bold things, not the strength to suffer. 

   — Niccolo Machiavelli, The Prince

IT IS NOT THE CRITIC WHO COUNTS: not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better.  The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly, who errs and comes up short again and again…who spends himself in a worthy cause; who, at the best, knows, in the end, the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly. 

   — Teddy Roosevelt

Apple See-Through Augmented Reality HMD Glasses

The January issue of Mac Life sports a fauxtograph of possible Apple augmented reality HMD glasses. It’s hard to know how much of this article is based on concept, but Apple working on an AR HMD would be a huge jumpstart to the nascent technology.

In mid-April of 2008, Apple published a patent for a “Head Mounted Display System.”  The patent shows screens and fiber optics and vision imaging controls.  Would the display use pico projection or utilize OLED displays?  Pico displays could be used right now, but OLEDs might be a year out.

Would Apple make HMD goggle for augmented reality?  Looking back at this 2006 interview on MacSimumNews, we can see that Steve Jobs was already considering it.  Given that he also denies Apple is looking at a HMD practically guarantees they have something in the works. 

Jobs: Yes, you want a nice big screen so that you can see lots of music and you can pick out what you want, versus a tiny little screen. But then again, you want the screen to be small so that you can put it in your pocket. Actually, discovering and buying music on a computer and downloading it to the iPod—in our opinion, that’s one of the geniuses of the iPod. So you can look at changing that—and maybe that will happen over time—but I think the experience you’ll get on a device optimized for putting in your pocket is going to be far less satisfactory than on a personal computer. You may still want to do that [on a small screen] occasionally, but I don’t think it’s ever going to mean that you can not have some other device that is your primary device for buying and cataloguing music.

Swisher: What would solve that? Can it be solved?

Jobs: Rollable screens, goggles you can put on; I don’t know. It’s not on the horizon.

Given Apple’s trademark secrecy, it’s a huge unknown if MacLife’s article is pure speculation or its based on some real knowledge.  We do know that Apple has patented aspects of an AR HMD, so it’s not crazy to think they might come out with one.  With tons of augmented reality applications hitting the market, I can’t imagine that Apple will wait too long to unveil their AR glasses to grab a critical market lead.  All the pieces of the technology are available as we speak and I’m not the only one to notice this (read PatentlyApple).   

Microvision, Vuzix and Lumus are telling us to wait until 2011 for AR HMDs, but if Apple gets involved, we just might see it happen in 2010.